My experience with solar powered items hasn’t been that great (long hours of charging for weak light), so when I received two solar-powered products from Earth Easy, I was prepared to be underwhelmed.

Boy was I surprised.

SunBell Solar Lamp and Phone Charger

$49.95

This little bell-shaped lantern makes a lot of claims on its packaging (i.e. it’s “your all-in-one power system at home and on the go!”), but here’s the thing: it works. And it works well. As recommended, I set it outside for 3 hours on a sunny day, and I powered up the SunBell. It is BRIGHT. It has three light modes: bright, brighter, and brightest. Depending on the light mode, it operates anywhere between 4.5 hours and 135 hours before needing to be recharged again. I’ve used this as a lantern while venturing into the attic, camping in a tent, and mowing the lawn at night (don’t tell my mom), and it’s served me well.

What I like so much about the SunBell is that it functions as well as a traditional lantern, but it’s been designed so that the light can be mounted in a couple of ways: the lantern handle detaches on one side to turn it into a focused book light, and the charger/handle completely detaches so that it can snake around your neck…a makeshift headlamp of sorts.

Also, it has a USB port to charge your phone. That’s helpful. Nice touch, BRIGHT products.

©Merklit_Mersha_Little_Sun_4

Little Sun

$29.95

I was a little confused by this product at first (it’s a tiny plastic sun/flower with a solar lamp in the middle…great…), but then I read the packaging. Little Sun is a social business based in Berlin, Germany, that sells these small lamps to areas of the world with electricity. They use the profits from these sales to build off-grid businesses in regions with sparse access to electricity that sell Little Sun lights at locally affordable prices.

Seems like a smart way to have a long-term impact (creating local jobs and profits) rather than just trying a short-term fix of donating lamps to regions without electricity. 5 hours of charging produces 10 hours of soft light or 4 hours of bright light.